A Turn Up for the Books

This week I got some very surprising news.

Some of you may be aware that since early 2019, I’ve been selling my ebooks through Smashwords. Some of you may even be aware that since early 2022, Smashwords has been gradually merging with Draft2Digital. You might even know that Draft2Digital doesn’t accept Creative Commons-licensed works (which is why I went with Smashwords).

But how many of you knew that not only would Draft2Digital’s policy be the prevailing one in the merger, but Smashwords itself decided four or five years ago (i.e. just after I published my first CC-licensed work with them) that they didn’t accept CC-licensed works either?

A book with the pages fanned open. The pages on the left have words on them, but further on the pages are blank.
The book disappears even as you read it…

Rest assured, those who have previously purchased my ebooks through Smashwords will not find they disappear. Or at least, that’s what Smashwords currently says.

I had no idea of this change in policy (which is why I added two more works for distribution with them in 2020). Somewhere along the way they forgot to mention the change to the authors and publishers who distribute through them. And for some reason they also forgot about this when I asked which policy would prevail, back in February 2022, answering only that they hadn’t discussed it yet.

The upshot of it is, that I am in need of a new way to distribute my ebooks to the reading public – and speedily, as Smashwords wishes me to Unpublish my three existing books, and there’s a fourth due out in a couple of months (DV).

There are a number of ways to approach this challenge.

A man with a tray of small books hung around his neck holds one up for viewing. He also has one tucked in his hatband. His mouth is open as though calling out.
Ebooks! Gitchor ebooks heeere! Read ’em, carry ’em, wear ’em in your hat!

I could set up accounts with all the book-vending sites I can find that do accept CC-licensed works, such as DriveThruFiction. Potentially quite time consuming, particularly for those, like me, who always Read Before You Sign.

I could try to find another distributor who will explicitly agree to taking CC-licensed works (and hope they don’t change their mind soon after). Inquiries are underway.

I could set something up on my own website, either with a company like Payhip, or with a WordPress plugin.

Or I could try some combination of the three.

So I appeal to you, dear readers: how do you like to buy ebooks? And what places do you know of where Creative Commons ebooks can be bought? Any suggestions or advice warmly welcomed!

2 Replies to “A Turn Up for the Books”

  1. I find this news not just surprising, but infuriating, scary, frustrating, and it makes me want to throw something! You ask where I like to buy ebooks. Well the answer is I haven’t bought many, but if I did I’d probably start looking in Rakuten kobo, where I currently have a few books lined up on a wish list, but my kobo has been a bit hit and miss about what it will accept, so I haven’t actually taken the plunge yet. However, that may be a place you could investigate.

    As for Smashwords, well, I’ll tell them what I think next time they try emailing me….

    1. Kobo has definitely been a source of sales in the past. I’ll see if I can find a distributor that connects to them – or failing that, see how many tens of thousands of words their Terms and Conditions are…

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